Tax Day 2010 saw massive demonstrations beneath the still-rising star of the Tea Party, coupled with a darkly amusing sideshow: hilariously incompetent attempts by left-wing operatives to infiltrate the demonstrations, setting up fraudulent photo ops to discredit the Tea Party. The most notorious organizer of these activities, “Crash the Tea Party” founder Jason Levin, turned out to be a middle-school teacher, and is now under investigation by the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.
Crash the Tea Party produced nothing more than a bit of low comedy, but Levin began the operation with lofty goals. He boasted of having “65 leaders in major cities around the country,” who were attempting to create a vast network of foot soldiers for their grand attack on Tea Party credibility. Jim Treacher over at the Daily Caller has preserved Crash the Tea Party’s manifesto for posterity. (Check out that link, and note the incorrect use of the semicolon in the first paragraph – very encouraging from an educator! I guess his training to work in the “media lab” put more emphasis on Stalinist theory than punctuation.) You can see from this manifesto that Levin and his chums didn’t see themselves as the low-wattage goofballs they turned out to be. They were hardcore warriors in the crusade for social justice, man.
Why are these people so intensely furious at the Tea Party? After all, it’s a community of concerned citizens, peacefully exercising their right to free speech in an attempt to promote positive social change. Their vision of positive social change is obviously quite different from that of an Obama-supporting leftist, sincere liberals should respect the Tea Party’s actions in principle, responding in kind with peaceful demonstrations of their own.
Of course, Levin’s group might have considered the tiny size of their counter-demonstrations against the massive Tea Party protests and concluded they would look ridiculous… but I think they also grasped a hidden truth, which average middle-class liberals do not like to contemplate. It is revealed between the lines of a mission statement that addresses a grassroots movement of outraged taxpayers as if they were a military enemy.
The past two years have seen a profound change occur in the American system. Our basic currency is no longer the dollar. People like Jason Levin understand the nature of our new currency, which is obedience.
Obama Democrats worship central planning. They have repeatedly expressed the belief that only powerful, maternal government can be trusted to allocate the most essential resources, or manage vital industries. The free market is a playpen, filled with the stuff that isn’t serious enough to merit direct control by the Mother State. When a particular toy causes the children of the electorate to scream, it is quickly snatched out of the pen. The free market can’t even be trusted to deal with airline fees for carry-on luggage… which turned out to be a market response to previous government action. You are expected to sit quietly and swallow your tears if Mother State chooses to beat you over the head with one of your toys.
Central planning is useless if nobody follows the central plans. Where the free market is persuasive, organizing resources by responding to demand and exploiting opportunity, central planning is coercive. It must compel obedience to its designs, and compulsion is always necessary. If people were eager to follow those designs of their own free will, there would be no need for central planning in the first place.
Obedience to the just laws of a minimal government doesn’t replace the currency of freedom – it enhances its value, by creating an environment of trust and cooperation. Your time is made more valuable by the knowledge you are protected from murder, theft, and fraud. This broadens the options available to you in life.
When the economy falls under political control, the practical value of your freedom shrivels. Success becomes determined by the favor of the State, and the exercise of political power. For example, labor unions are rewarded for their loyalty to the Democrat Party, including proposed public bailouts of their unsustainable pension plans, and exclusive access to government contracts. Such transactions work both ways, as powerful constituencies trade votes for obedient service from politicians.
The Tea Party is the living incarnation of disobedience. It is driven by the words and deeds of people who refuse to submit. Its members demand the return of money and power appropriated by an out-of-control federal government. They won’t allow their lives to be sculpted by the knives and chisels of penalties and subsidies. They speak out against an ugly reality that President Obama’s supporters don’t like to confront: political control of the economy consists of directives, which require submission, which can only be assured through punishment. No matter how benevolent the stated goals of such a system might be, there is nothing benevolent about the methods it must use to attain them.
A Russian dissident once said that the gulags weren’t an unfortunate side effect of Communism – they were the point. Jason Levin and his Crash the Tea Party minions understand this, and embrace it, because they hate the people who will be ground into fertilizer for the system they support. By helping to suppress a powerful enemy of the regime, they enjoy the exhilaration of despite, while also serving as volunteer guards for the Treasury where our new currency of obedience is stored.
Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.
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